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Solidarity for West Papua in Aotearoa

Solidarity for West Papua in Aotearoa New Zealand on 1 December 2005

This alert has four sections: 1) About West Papua; 2) About 1 December, West Papua Independence Day; 3) 'Messages of solidarity' - something you can do wherever you are to add your voice to those who are calling for justice, peace and self-determination for the people of West Papua; and 4) Details of the solidarity events in Auckland and Wellington on Thursday.


1) About West Papua

Since 1963 West Papua has been occupied by the Indonesian armed forces. For the past forty-two years, the people of West Papua have been subjected to gross human rights violations including rape, torture, cultural genocide, murder and massacre - more than 100,000 West Papuans have been killed. More than 15,000 West Papuans are currently living in camps in Papua New Guinea; and others are forced to live in exile around the world because it is not safe for them to go home.

Multi-national corporations in cahoots with the Indonesian authorities have exploited West Papua's natural resources to an extraordinary degree. This has caused massive social dislocation, devastation of rain forests, and pollution of streams and rivers on which the local people depend for their survival.

There have been repeated ongoing calls from West Papuan leaders for dialogue to turn West Papua into a 'land of peace', but these have been ignored by the Indonesian authorities. The number of Indonesian troops in West Papua continues to increase; plans announced earlier this year to deploy an additional 20,000 combat-ready troops to West Papua will take the total up to around 50,000 - one soldier for every 44 civilians.

As well as the direct violent repression by Indonesian armed forces, they are creating armed militias, similar to what they did in East Timor.


2) About 1 December, West Papua Independence Day

1 December is the anniversary of the 1961 West Papuan Declaration of Independence from Dutch colonial rule and is observed by people in West Papua and by solidarity groups around the world.

In West Papua people mark the day in a variety of ways, including raising the 'Morning Star' (the West Papuan flag) - in previous years the Indonesian military and police have responded with increased violent oppression around this day, arresting and killing those they perceive as pro-independence activists.

On 1 December last year, among the West Papuans arrested were Philep Karma and Yusak Pakage who organised peaceful celebrations and raised the Morning Star flag in Jayapura. On 26 May 2005, an Indonesian court sentenced Philip to fifteen years imprisonment and Yusak to ten years.

Just last week there were reports of an additional 2,900 and 3,500 Indonesian troops arriving in West Papua; and today reports have started coming through of a heavy military presence on the streets of Jayapura.

More information about West Papua, and what has happened on Independence Day in previous years, is available on the 'West Papua: the forgotten Pacific country' web page at

http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/wpapua.htm


3) Messages of solidarity for the people of West Papua

You are invited to add your voice to those of people all around the world who are calling for justice, peace and self-determination for the people of West Papua. This ongoing initiative was launched on 1 December 2004, the forty-third anniversary of the West Papuan Declaration of Independence from Dutch colonial rule.

If you would like your message included on the 'Messages of solidarity' web page - http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/wpsol.htm- please send your name, address*, occupation / position and organisation (optional), and message to Peace Movement Aotearoa email pma@xtra.co.nz [* only the town / city part of your address will be put on the web page, not your full address.]

If you can help distribute 'Messages of solidarity' forms from stalls, or in newsletters or other mail outs, you can either follow the link at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/wpsol.htmto the printable form, or email pma@xtra.co.nz with your postal address and a note saying how many forms you require, or if you would prefer us to send you the artwork so you can copy the form as needed. Thank you.


4) West Papua solidarity events on Thursday, 1 December 2005

* Auckland - 12 noon *

- West Papua solidarity lunchtime stall and raising of the West Papua flag - "this month West Papuans have defied police intimidation and the threat of arrest to demonstrate, we can use our freedom to promote theirs"; 12 noon in Auckland Downtown square, corner of Customs and Queen Streets, under the big canopy just by the crossing. Organised by the Indonesia Human Rights Committee, for more information contact tel (09) 815 9000 or email maire@clear.net.nz

* Wellington - 1pm and 5pm *

- Gathering in solidarity with the people of West Papua - join us to fly the 'Morning Star' flag, with the opportunity to write a personal message in support of justice, peace and self-determination for West Papua if you wish; 1pm in parliament grounds. Organised by Peace Movement Aotearoa, for more information contact tel (04) 382 8129 or email pma@xtra.co.nz

- West Papua 'the forgotten Pacific country' is the focus of today's fortnightly peace vigil; from 5pm to 6pm at the Cenotaph (corner Lambton Quay and Bowen Street). For more information contact Peace Movement Aotearoa, tel (04) 382 8129 or email pma@xtra.co.nz

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